American Wind Grows Again
The U.S. Wind Energy 2011 Annual Report came out this week, with great news for the renewable energy sector. The United States added 6.8 Gigawatts of wind power in 2011, which is double-digit growth in spite of the tepid economy.
Another piece of great news are the jobs that are being created in this sector. Wind power, and the associated manufacturing that goes with it, is the strongest source of made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs. Seven states strongly associated with wind, such as Michigan, Iowa, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, California and Colorado, created several thousand jobs each. And some other states, like Kansas, have enough construction or production scheduled to put 2012 in a strong position for even more growth. Take a look at the top 10 states projected for more growth in 2012:
Top ten states for wind projects under construction in 2012:
1. Kansas: 1,189 MW
2. Texas: 857 MW
3. California: 847 MW
4. Oregon: 640 MW
5. Illinois: 615 MW
6. Pennsylvania: 520 MW
7. Iowa: 470 MW
8. Oklahoma: 393 MW
9. Michigan: 348 MW
10. Washington: 331 MW
The good news doesn’t stop there. According to the report, the wind industry has brought in over $20 billion in private investment over the past five years, created one of the largest providers of electric generation with 35% of all new power capacity, and contributed technology that has made wind power more affordable than ever. What’s more, the wind industry now employes over 75,000 people across the country, and that number is expected to grow again in 2012.
Without a doubt, wind energy is one of the bright spots in this economy, and it’s pointing the way to where our country needs to go in terms of investment and growth.
What do you think? Do you live near a wind-rich area? Have you seen any growth or new construction projects related to wind energy?